The Flames are a much better team with Johnny Gaudreau in the lineup than without. pic.twitter.com/K8Q6fEOR6k
— Mike Gould (@miketgould) October 5, 2021
#Flames vs. Oilers Update: Johnny Gaudreau will not return tonight (precautionary).
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) October 5, 2021
- This is a new section intended to house some stray thoughts about the game that don’t quite fit in the main column.
- Get the pun? “Rapid Fire“? Pretty good, right?
- Will this section replace the recurring “Three Gould Stars” bit? Probably. It seemed to be pretty confusing and unpopular. Oh, well.
- Anyway, Milan Lucic had a goal taken away in the first period of this game after an offside review. Lucic had an otherwise solid game, finishing with a 57.06 on-ice expected goals percentage at 5-on-5 and three individual scoring chances.
- Jacob Markstrom’s defencemen and penalty killers didn’t really do him any favours in this one. He made 31 saves in the loss, including this tremendous pad stop on Zack Kassian (who, believe it or not, still has three years left on his $3.2 million AAV contract):
— Taranjot Vining (@Str8OuttaCGY) October 5, 2021
- Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev don’t seem to work together nearly as effectively as Oliver Kylington and Chris Tanev. Playing alongside Zadorov on Monday, Tanev posted a very ordinary 48.77 on-ice expected goals percentage at 5-on-5 — a far cry from the gaudy numbers he was putting up while paired with Kylington.
- Meanwhile, the Flames opted to pair Kylington with Erik Gudbranson on Monday. Kylington miraculously remained largely afloat while Gudbranson struggled to move the puck forward more than everybody else on the team. It’s genuinely puzzling how the Flames ever decided to give Gudbranson $1.95 million.
- Tanev and Kylington absolutely should be reunited. Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson should also form a pair (they were effective together on Monday). Zadorov is probably too expensive not to play, so he’s likely Juuso Välimäki’s partner. That makes three pairings, each with a little bit of size, speed, youth, and experience. Now, it’s time to wait and see how the Flames will fit Gudbranson into their lineup on opening night.
- Finally, Sean Monahan appeared in his first pre-season game of the Darryl Sutter era on Monday. Primarily centering Andrew Mangiapane and Trevor Lewis (the latter of whom likely served as a placeholder for Blake Coleman), Monahan played 12:06 at 5-on-5 and took one shot on the power play. While he certainly wasn’t bad in his return, Monahan still has a long way to go before he can even be safely characterized as a top-six centre.